LGBTQ history is often missing from the school curriculum. That’s starting to change as states like California mandate its inclusion. But wherever you are and whatever grade you teach, you can make sure it’s part of your curriculum. This list of the best LGBTQ books for kids is a great place to start—both during Pride month and throughout the school year.
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1. Rainbow: A First Book of Pride by Michael Genhart
A lovely choice for young children, this book describes the meaning behind each colorful stripe of the rainbow flag. Did you know that orange stands for healing?
Buy it: Rainbow: A First Book of Pride at Amazon
2. This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman
In lieu of an in-person parade, This Day in June invites readers to join in an exuberant celebration of Pride and share in a day in which we are all united. Also, check out the reading guide!
Buy it: This Day in June at Amazon
3. Sewing the Rainbow: The Story of Gilbert Baker and the Rainbow Flag by Gayle E. Pitman
This is the story of Gilbert Baker, the man who created the rainbow flag, set against the backdrop of San Francisco in the 1970s at the height of the gay rights movement.
Buy it: Sewing the Rainbow at Amazon
4. When You Look Out the Window: How Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin Built a Community by Gayle E. Pitman
Looking for more LGBTQ books for kids by Gayle E. Pitman? Here’s another gem that introduces children to renowned LGBTQ activists and lesbian couple Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin. Watch as Phyllis and Del transform their community and fight for change across the country.
Buy it: When You Look Out the Window at Amazon
5. Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders
For an introduction to LGBTQ heroes, look no further than this children’s book from Rob Sanders, which tells the remarkable and moving story of social activist Harvey Milk and his collaboration with Gilbert Baker to create a symbol of equality of inclusion.
Buy it: Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag at Amazon
6. Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution. by Rob Sanders
Also by author Sanders, this picture book is narrated by the Stonewall Inn, the location of a raid that would spark an uprising that marked the beginning of the gay liberation movement in the United States.
Buy it: Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution. at Amazon
7. The Gay Rights Movement by Eric Braun
With its engaging format, this book is an excellent choice for older elementary students. They’ll learn about key people and events in the fight for equal rights, as well as the challenges the movement faces to this day.
Buy it: The Gay Rights Movement at Amazon
8. Pride: Celebrating Diversity & Community by Robin Stevenson
What is Pride anyway? Answer that question with this lively book that covers how Pride came to be and what it means to the people who celebrate it.
Buy it: Pride: Celebrating Diversity & Community at Amazon
9. Queer Heroes: Meet 53 LGBTQ Heroes From Past & Present! by Arabelle Sicardi
This beautifully illustrated book highlights the contributions of LGBTQ artists, writers, innovators, athletes, and activists … from Sappho to Freddie Mercury.
Buy it: Queer Heroes: Meet 53 LGBTQ Heroes From Past & Present! at Amazon
10. Gay & Lesbian History for Kids: The Century-Long Struggle for LGBT Rights by Jerome Pohlen
Share this book lest your students think the fight for LGBTQ rights is only a recent development. They’ll love the engaging personal stories, and you’ll love the included activities that help bring history to life.
Buy it: Gay & Lesbian History for Kids at Amazon
11. The Stonewall Riots: Coming Out in the Streets by Gayle E. Pitman
For upper elementary, this is a very readable chapter book covering the events leading up to the riots, the riots themselves, and the aftermath.
Buy it: The Stonewall Riots: Coming Out in the Streets at Amazon
12. Our Gay History in Fifty States by Zaylore Stout
Author Stout went on a cross-country trip to create this state-by-state account of significant people and places in LGBTQ history with the message that LGBTQ history is American history. This is a nice choice for middle school.
Buy it: Our Gay History in Fifty States at Amazon
13. Troublemaker for Justice: The Story of Bayard Rustin, the Man Behind the March on Washington by Jacqueline Houtman
A major player in the Civil Rights Movement, Bayard Rustin’s contributions are missing from most history books, in large part because he was gay. A terrific biography for middle to high school students.
Buy it: Troublemaker for Justice at Amazon
14. The Book of Pride: LGBTQ Heroes Who Changed the World by Mason Funk
The story of the gay rights movement comes to life through interviews with the leaders, activists, and ordinary people who made it happen. Teens and tweens will be inspired by these stories.
Buy it: The Book of Pride: LGBTQ Heroes Who Changed the World at Amazon
15. Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights by Ann Bausum
Written specifically for teens, this book chronicles the Stonewall Riots and the gay rights movement that followed. A riveting telling.
Buy it: Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights at Amazon